Transcribing songs

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of mezzo mezzo 3 years ago.

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    Profile photo of mezzo

    As a beginner, what kind of songs should you select to transcribe? Or do you just start transcribing songs that you like to listen to even if they are hard?

    Profile photo of caylalayman

    I’ve found that this site has some really solid information regarding transcription if you’re interested:

    I personally think it’s best to start with songs you’re extremely familiar with, even if they aren’t necessarily ones you like to listen to. Things like familiar Christmas carols, childhood songs, and the like.

    Profile photo of quintusvw

    I like to transcribe gosple hymns. I have learned then since I was very young and have made that my goal. To transcribe every hymn I can on guitar. But both the rhythm and the lead.


    @caylalayman‘s advice is good: start out with simple songs you know well.

    Generally with ear training, using music you like is a great way to boost your motivation and interest levels – but it’s important to hit the right difficulty level too, as if the task is too hard then the resulting frustration will sap your motivation right back down!

    As with playing by ear, it’s important to choose tracks which suit your current ability levels and focus. If you’re practising recognising major and minor chords and working on major scale solfa, then trying to transcribe a far-out performance of a jazz standard, or a discordant metal track is not going to end well! Much better to choose a simpler song (pop and rock tend to work well, especially if you’re focusing on recognising I-IV-V progressions) and build from there.

    One more tip: choose a “dream track”: a track you love but which you know is musically difficult, and set that as your goal in learning to transcribe, something you know you can’t do now but will be working towards.

    Profile photo of mezzo

    Thanks to you all.

    @caylalayman! This article is great.

    I really like idea about a dream track @christopher-sutton. I’m definitely going to set that.

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